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CDT 2019 now available to aid accurate coding

August 28, 2018

By David Burger

Image of CDT 2018 Coding Companion manual
With 15 new codes, five revised codes and four deleted codes, CDT 2019: Dental Procedure Codes is ready to go.

CDT 2019 was released Aug. 28, enabling dentists to record procedures with increased specificity and accuracy when the new codes go into effect Jan 1, 2019. Since many practice management software systems do not include full CDT descriptors, the CDT 2019 manual and Companion help dental professionals decide which code fits best.

And more accurate coding means fewer claims rejections and speedier reimbursement. This documentation may also protect practitioners if questions arise about treatment rendered. Since each code consistently records a service that was delivered, practitioners can build a thorough history of patient visits and treatment plans.

CDT 2019 is the most up-to-date coding resource and the only Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-recognized code set for dentistry.
CDT 2019 can also be purchased as a kit that includes the CDT 2019 Coding Companion, which trains staff on how to use the right codes at the right time, and the award-winning CDT Code Check App, which puts complete CDT codes on dentists' phones or tablets.

Revised for 2019, the CDT 2019 Coding Companion trains staff to code more accurately and efficiently with key coding concepts, 100 coding scenarios and a Q&A section with 175 questions.  Organized by coding category, each chapter was written by a dental expert, including coding consultants, insurance administrators and practicing dentists. The companion includes four new authors in the 2019 edition.

The CDT 2019 manual and CDT 2019 Coding Companion e-Books are free with purchase of the print books from the ADA Catalog.

One code addition approved at the most recent meeting of the Code Maintenance Committee of particular interest, according to Drs. Steven I. Snyder and Christopher Bulnes — the chair and vice chair, respectively, of the ADA Council of Dental Benefit Programs — was the inclusion of a code requested by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. It is a code for "infiltration of a sustained release therapeutic drug — single or multiple site."

Dr. Bulnes said with the increased focus on the use of opioids and the problems associated with their use, patients are requesting non-narcotic alternatives for post-operative pain control. Dentists are now increasingly utilizing a sustained-release pharmacologic agent infiltrated at the surgical site to reduce the use of narcotic pain medicine in their pain management protocol, he said.

Another code addition for CDT 2019 reflects the rising awareness of the role oral health plays in overall health. Spurred by a proposal from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and the Maryland State Office of Oral Health, CDT 2019 now includes a code assigned to the use of a blood glucose level test that provides an immediate finding of a patient's blood glucose level.

Dr. Bulnes said more and more dentists are testing their patients' blood glucose level, for if a diabetic dental patient is about to undergo a long, complex procedure, it is helpful to know what their blood sugar level is at that moment.

HIPAA requires that a CDT code from the version in effect on the date of service must be used — no matter when the claim is submitted. CDT 2018 is valid for services delivered through Dec. 31, 2018.

CDT is intellectual property owned by the ADA. Its commercial use requires a license. For more information, or to begin the process of obtaining a license to use CDT content, please email

Readers can save 15 percent on the CDT 2019 manual and all ADA Catalog products with promo code 18137 until Nov. 9. To order, visit or call 1-800-947-4746.